People with diabetes often experience one or more of the 4 Ps associated with the condition: polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia and polyneuropathy, usually resulting from high blood glucose levels. Proper management is crucial to avoid potential complications arising from these symptoms.
All types of diabetes, including Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes, and pre-diabetes, can cause these symptoms. However, their severity and frequency can vary based on the type of diabetes and how well-controlled glucose levels are.
Polyuria is a condition where the body produces an abnormal quantity of urine. In some cases, the amount passed each time calculates to more than 3 litres per day. In comparison: adults usually output between 1 to 2 litres of urine in 24 hours. Drinking excessive amounts of fluids (polydipsia), especially those that contain caffeine and alcohol, may lead to polyuria. Polyuria, in the context of diabetes, can be a symptom of undiagnosed diabetes, pre-diabetes, and diabetes type 1 or 2. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause more frequent and excessive urination because kidneys need more water to filter out excess glucose in the bloodstream.
Polydipsia is a medical condition described by increased water intake due to excessive thirst. The need to drink more water is one of the main signals of diabetes, kidney disease, liver failure, chronic diarrhea, etc. Having a dry mouth and the urge to pee often or protractedly may go with polydipsia. Staying hydrated is essential for people’s healthy body functioning, but if the thirst doesn’t go away after a couple of days or weeks – a doctor’s visit is recommended. Prolonged periods of unfathomable thirst are key indicators of diabetes.
Polyphagia is a condition characterized by an excessive appetite that can result in a person consuming unusual amounts of food. This condition often is developed when diabetes is not well controlled. What happens in the body is the following: the glucose extracted from the food ends up in the bloodstream for a prolonged period of time, which causes it to be discarded by the body rather than absorbed. It is then urinated and none of the energy the body needs is used. On the other hand, the cells start to signal the lack of glucose they are supposed to receive, which results in overconsumption. Generally, people experience the symptoms of polyphagia if diabetes is not properly managed.
Polyneuropathy is the simultaneous malfunction of many peripheral nerves throughout the body. Damaged nerves can not signal properly, so the brain does not receive clear signals from the organs and muscles affected by polyneuropathy. This condition is most commonly linked to uncontrolled blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common forms of polyneuropathy and may affect up to 50% of people with diabetes. It tends to develop slowly over a long period (usually years). It is more common in people who have had diabetes for a long time, have poorly controlled blood sugar levels, or have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
In conclusion, the 4 Ps of diabetes are symptoms that can affect people with all types of diabetes. These symptoms can lead to serious complications if not managed properly. It is essential for those diagnosed with diabetes to closely monitor their blood sugar levels and make lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and medication to manage the symptoms and prevent complications. To make things easier, the Diabetes:M app offers comprehensive and user-friendly features to track every aspect of your condition. Learn more here.